Love, Always

An open letter to teenagers everywhere: What I wish I had known about sex when I was your age.

Hello beautiful one.

(Yes, you are incredibly strong, creative, amazing and beautiful, even if you don’t see it or believe it right now.)

I am a grown up and I want to tell you that…

Sex is awesome. Like, really awesome. When you are truly ready. When it’s with the right person. Yup. AWESOME.

Not what you were expecting me to say? Well, this isn’t your typical lecture on sex.

This letter is a little bit different.

It’s an open letter from my heart to yours.

I am not writing this letter to scold you, shame you, or tell you what to do with your body. I’m not trying to override the rules set by your parents (not at all — please follow their guidance and honor the rules that they set). I’m definitely not here to frighten you.

My motivation for writing this letter is very simple.

I simply want to share what I wish I had known about sex back when I was your age.

Why? Because it might help you.

Because sometimes we need little messages (from friends, from books, from song lyrics, from strangers on the Internet) to help us make wiser choices, be brave, and grow into the kinds of people we truly want to be.

If this letter helps even just one teen (or grown up, for that matter) to build a happier, healthier life, that would make me so glad. So here we go.

I wish I had known that…

– Liking someone doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to have sex with them. Right now. Later. Or ever.

– Having the urge to have sex doesn’t necessarily mean you have to act on that urge. You can enjoy the tingly feeling of excitement (“Ooh, this person is so hot!!!”) and then let it pass. Sometimes, this is the wisest, most self-respecting choice you make.

– There are lots of ways to get to know someone without necessarily having sex. Talking, holding hands, listening to music, going on adventures together, learning about each other’s hopes, dreams, and fears. You can allow your heart to love deeply and fully. No sex required.

– It’s OK to say no. To anyone. At any time. For absolutely any reason.

– Let me repeat that: It’s OK to say no. To anyone. At any time. For absolutely any reason.

– If someone treats you differently / poorly / rudely because you say, “I don’t want to have sex” or “I don’t want to have sex again,” then that person is behaving disrespectfully to you. Think carefully about including them in your life.

– There is nothing cool about having sex just because you are afraid of being dumped / being shunned / being alone.

There is nothing cool about having sex just so you can tell your friends about it.

– There is nothing cool about having sex just to “fit in.”

– Having sex for those kinds of reasons isn’t much fun, anyway. It will leave you feeling empty. Trust me.

– You deserve to wait for the right person to share yourself with. You will know when that person arrives. Because that person will love you, care about you, respect you, and want what is absolutely best for you whether that involves having sex right now… or not.

– You are a treasure. One of a kind. Irreplaceable.

– You are worth waiting for.

. . .

PS. If you enjoyed this blog post … you might consider going deeper.  Check out the The Life Guide on Helping Your Teen Make Healthy Choices About Dating & Sex for more tips, tools and practices to help you navigate your teen’s dating & sex interests with grace.